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1 April 2010 Comparative Efficacy of Sign Surveys, Spotlighting and Audio Playbacks in a Landscape-Scale Carnivore Survey
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Abstract

Many carnivores are difficult and labour-intensive to detect, often leading to prohibitively high effort and cost in large-scale surveys. However, such studies provide Information that is Important for effective management and conservation. Here, we evaluate the suitability of three survey methods for landscape-scale multi-species monitoring. We compare sign surveys, spotlighting, and audio playbacks in terms of detection efficiency, precision, effort, and cost. Sign surveys out-performed the other methods in all comparison criteria, although supplementary methods were needed for some species and sites. We found that using established analysis techniques, robust landscape-scale abundance estimates would require unrealistically high effort and cost. Occupancy estimation required considerably lower sample sizes and was therefore more economical. We conclude that sign-based occupancy estimates constitute a versatile and efficient option for future large-scale, multi-species carnivore surveys.

Michelle Thorn, Matthew Green, Philip W. Bateman, Elissa Z. Cameron, Richard W. Yarnell, and Dawn M. Scott "Comparative Efficacy of Sign Surveys, Spotlighting and Audio Playbacks in a Landscape-Scale Carnivore Survey," South African Journal of Wildlife Research 40(1), 77-86, (1 April 2010). https://doi.org/10.3957/056.040.0113
Received: 28 May 2009; Accepted: 1 January 2010; Published: 1 April 2010
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